The Gonzaga Bulldogs are the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament after finishing the NCAA basketball season as the top-ranked team.
The Bulldogs (26-3) made it to the national championship game last season and are looking to win the West region and reach a second straight Final Four. ESPN's Seth Greenberg believes they will, saying:
"I'm gonna go with Gonzaga. ... Gonzaga's season starts now.
With the incredible success the Zags have had over the past few seasons, there is an expectation they will be playing in the final game. The school's only other Final Four appearances came in 2017 and 2021, both times finishing as the runner-up. The current team may be better than last season's team because of their skill at both ends.
But the road to another Final Four will not be straightforward.
Twelfth-ranked Texas Tech (25-9), the No. 3 seed in the West, and ninth-ranked Duke (28-6), the No. 2 seed, are threats in the region. Texas Tech beat Gonzaga 69-55 on Dec. 18, but Gonzaga beat Duke 84-81 on Nov. 26.
"Texas Tech, I think, is gonna be a problem, because they keep you on one side of the floor," ESPN's Seth Greenberg said. "They're really physical defensively, really athletic alright. They've already beaten them, and then you'll look at potentially Duke."
Greenberg believes the Zags will advance out of the West. The combination of talent and coaching is vital to helping the Bulldogs reach another Final Four.
Gonzaga's stars are critical to their Final Four chances
As Gonzaga seeks another Final Four, stars Chet Holmgren, Drew Timme and Andrew Nembhard will need to perform well. Holmgren could be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft, and Timme and Nembhard are likely to be drafted as well.
"The one thing that's missing, so I think a refocused Gonzaga team, you'll see Timme a little bit more effective, you see obviously Holmgren impact on the defensive end," Greenberg said. "I think they'll see Andrew Nembhard. It's gonna come down to him."
Holmgren and Timme are the team's best players, having All-American seasons. Nembhard is the forgotten star of the trio, but his ability to facilitate the offense is a critical component of the Bulldogs' success.
As the nation's top team and one of college basketball's powers over the past few years, the Zags expect to contend for the school's first national title. Greenberg believes this team will win the West and reach a second consecutive Final Four.